Thanks to People magazine for this report on last night's American Idol ...
Nice catch!: Ousted contestant Antonella Barba returned to the Idol arena â€“ and proved to be an unusually reserved audience member, staying put in her seat (right behind Simon Cowell's mother) for most of the show. Still, Blake Lewis managed to catch her eye at the end of the night and blew her a kiss. She promptly returned the favor and he "caught" the airborne smooch and held it close to his chest.
Simon & Paula Hug, Hell Freezes: Though she emerged on set with only 30 seconds before show time (better than last week!), Paula Abdul found time to jokingly bow (complete with grandiose hand flourish) in front of Simon Cowell before they took their seats at the judges' table. Simon laughed and the two smiled as they hugged each other.
Simon Picks Fight with Paula, Hell Balmy Again: That Simon-Paula dÃ©tente lasted for about five minutes. Right after Phil Stacey opened the show with "Blaze of Glory," the mischievous Cowell pinched Paula in the side of her stomach right before she started critiquing Phil.
Forget Simon!: Not everyone agreed with the judge's lukewarm reception to Phil Stacey's rendition of "Blaze of Glory." Blake Lewis's father turned to Phil's wife and the rest of the Stacey supporters seated behind him and shook his head, showing his dismay at Simon's tongue lashing. He's not alone. After the show, Phil signed autographs telling fans of his performance: "My wife said it was her favorite!"
Spreading the Love: After whipping the crowd into a frenzy by beat-boxing his way through Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name," Blake Lewis blew a kiss to the judges' table at commercial. He then ran over and surprised Chris Richardson, by putting his hands on Chris's shoulders and jumping while Chris's back was turned. The two close friends then gave each other a handshake and bumped shoulders before Blake left the stage so Chris could take his turn in the spotlight.
A Kiss Is Just a Kiss! LaKisha Jones ripped it up with the passionate rock anthem "This Ain't a Love Song" and even planted a wet one on Simon after he told the singer, "I could kiss you after that!" But during the commercial break, makeup artists rushed over to Cowell to wipe the pink gloss off his lips. The judge then walked over to girlfriend Terri Seymour and his mom â€“ no doubt to reassure them that they are still the two most important women in his life.
Sign Language: Right before Jordin Sparks launched into "Livin' on a Prayer," Gina showed her support for the 17-year-old Idol by standing up in her chair and flashing the universal "rock on!" hand sign. Jordin waved the metal horns back at her pal and laughed.
Will Brake for Fans: As Simon slowly drove toward the parking lot exit, another vehicle blocked his way out â€“ providing the perfect opportunity for fans to rush the driver's side of his car. No, the notorious curmudgeon did not run them over. Instead, Simon gamely yielded to fans' autograph and photo requests before driving off.